18 February 2012

Used but not used up.

Regardless of how you feel about piracy, SOPA, downloading, or any other shady means of acquiring a band's "intellectual property" or whatever, fans are always going to try to get albums they want as quickly and cheaply as possible. I'm sure that buying used albums seems like a completely different issue, but it's still somehow related to the whining and complaining that a lot of bands who have lost touch with their roots do these days.

I always have and always will buy used albums. It really has nothing to do with morals or legal philosophy. It's just cheaper. Economics may be a boat load of theories that we just made up, but that part of it makes sense. Several weeks ago, I bought a copy of Gamma Ray's Power Plant off the world's favorite website named after a Brazilian river, and when it arrived in the mailbox, I opened up the envelope pulled out the case and checked it out to make sure everything was in order. After all, no one wants to waste $7.00 on an album that they couldn't have even found in a store in his or her state (and if it was, it would have been a cool $20.00).

I slid the booklet out of the case, like I always do, and flipped through the pages. Everything seemed normal enough, a standard layout of lyrics and photos of the band members in ridiculous poses covered in blue with lightning on their faces. It was just your typical metal album booklet. However, the band members signatures started to look funny the more I looked at them. As it turns out, I had gotten a copy of Power Plant that had actually been autographed by the band at a festival or concert of some type. Each member had taken a black Sharpie to their respective photo and signed their name. Dirk Schl├Ąchter signed his name in black on the top black margin (thanks, chief). Dan Zimmermann and Kai Hansen kept it simple with just their name on their goofy-looking shirtless portraits. Guitarist Henjo Richter went magic-marker crazy with a "CHEERRZZ!.:)" before penning his name.

Henjo Richter: good with
a guitar, great with a marker.
Either way, if I had bought a new copy of this album in the shrink wrap, I never would have stumbled upon such an interesting piece of my metal album collection. Instead of just a killer album, I ended up with a killer album that had a booklet that was signed by the band. If you've never heard Gamma Ray's Power Plant, you need to find it and give it a listen. It's a excellent slab of German power metal goodness. Granted it's not the best in Teutonic power metal, but it's well worth procuring a copy. Who knows? You may even get an autographed one.